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Fast Track to Environmental Career

Sydney Schneir, MA’11, has been awarded a pres­ti­gious fel­low­ship to work for the U.S. Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion in Wash­ington on a multibillion-​​dollar high-​​speed rail project pro­posed by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

Schneir is among roughly 850 grad­uate stu­dents out of some 10,000 appli­cants selected for the U.S. Pres­i­den­tial Man­age­ment Fel­lows (PMF) pro­gram. The pro­gram was cre­ated more than 30 years ago as a lead­er­ship training ground for out­standing grad­uate stu­dents who want to work at the fed­eral level.

In Wash­ington, Schneir will assess the envi­ron­mental impact of the poten­tial high-​​speed rail net­work, which is aimed at spurring eco­nomic growth and reducing America’s depen­dence on for­eign oil. She earned her North­eastern degree in the Master of Arts in Polit­ical Sci­ence program.

Schneir — whose fas­ci­na­tion with the envi­ron­ment began as a kid, when she saw a story on ABC News about the impact of glacial ero­sion — plans to use the fed­eral fel­low­ship as a stepping-​​stone to building a poten­tial career in envi­ron­mental affairs and protection.

As she put it, “There is so much more to do in terms of renew­able energy, clean tech­nology, the green economy and green infra­struc­ture. There is a great deal of inno­va­tion coming out of Mass­a­chu­setts and around the world, and I see this as the future to recov­ering from the recent eco­nomic crisis.”

Over the last year, Schneir worked at the Mass­a­chu­setts State House for the House Com­mittee on Global Warming and Cli­mate Change. The expe­ri­ence — which gave her the oppor­tu­nity to work at the local level on a global issue — pre­pared her for her new role in the nation’s capital.

“At the State House, I looked at the envi­ron­mental impact of global warming, renew­able energy and other global issues through lens of a Mass­a­chu­setts pol­i­cy­maker,” said Schneir, who earned her mas­ters degree in com­par­a­tive gov­ern­ment and pol­i­tics. “My degree helped me appre­ciate that the issues we were working on locally have inter­na­tional consequences.”

– by Greg St. Martin

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